Whatever Happened to Our Dreams?


Meet a man who in 1976 offers a compelling claim that he knows who really killed JFK, an African American janitor who in 1954 becomes the most beloved mentor at a wealthy private elementary school, and a college dorm maid who in 1963 runs an off campus bar where she serves underage freshmen. Read first hand accounts of chronically inept university administrators and of corruption in the conduct of the Vietnam war. Witness the insight of a ten year old who teaches his elderly aunt a valuable lesson. Accompany a married couple who travel through beautiful British Columbia in search of a place to live and work.

These and other stories in this collection look beyond mere nostalgia for a past that may or may not have existed to capture various human emotions during different stages of life. The stories, fictional… or some maybe not so fictional, contain a mix of mystery, humor, romance, drama, and unique slants on major historical events.

1. My Vietnam Story
2. The Man Downstairs
3. Hilda
4. That Dreaded Fiftieth
5. Willie F. Quinn
6. The Ned Willis Saga
7. The Guest House
8. Aunt Phyllis
9. Living Two Lives
10. A Fundamental Kind of Girl
11. When Life Was Still in Front of Us
12. Do You Guys Actually Know the President?
13. Confusion and Secrets
14. The Perfect Canadian Small Town
15. Delusional
16. Patsy Valdespino
17. Some Perspective
18. Where is This Village?
19. A Life on Hold
20. Hatchet Woman
21. A Famous Mentor
22. Three Career Disappointments
23. Universities Are Dying
24. So You Want To Be A Writer

Whatever Happened to Our Dreams? (cover)



Author Joseph E. Pluta
Publisher Distant Echo Press
Release Date October, 2015
Book Type Short stories
Genre Fiction, Historical
Length 396 pages
Paperback ISBN 978-1517133665


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8 Responses to “Whatever Happened to Our Dreams?”

  1. K. Simmons September 15, 2016 at 9:17 pm #

    This thoughtfully written collection of short stories covers a wide range of territory…which is precisely what makes it so enjoyable. Stories such as “Do You Guys Actually Know the President?” brim with humor and history, and this blend of fiction and (possible) fact is what hooked me as I made my way through the selections. Not to mention, the author has a way of introducing a large number of characters without overwhelming readers, another one of the collection’s strengths. A great read!

  2. Reader From Texas July 3, 2016 at 2:15 pm #

    This collection of 24 wide-ranging stories displays the author’s ability to explore the human condition in the modern world. These characters come to life as they sort through personal issues or take on prejudice in society and managerial stupidity in the workplace. Pluta’s training as an economist contributes depth to his understanding of the challenges ordinary people face in their daily lives.

  3. Robert B. June 1, 2016 at 6:06 pm #

    An excellent lite read with numerous stories to captivate one’s imagination. Each story grabs one’s attention and drives the reader to want to read others. WELL WORTH THE TIME.

  4. Claude Bednarek May 14, 2016 at 12:56 am #

    What is especially appealing is the fact that all the stories are very different in their focus. Many diverse aspects of human trials and tribulations are explored. Complex character traits are nicely built upon as each story progresses. The author takes the reader down many roads and all are very satisfying. I highly recommend the book. Now I will track down some of this writer’s earlier work.

  5. Sharon Holt February 16, 2016 at 1:01 am #

    This is a fascinating collection of stories. The author probes deeply into a wide range of experiences that his characters encounter. I especially like his character development. He has a way of withholding key qualities that are revealed only near the end. Marvelous technique. I love surprises. These stories have many.

  6. Clara Udall December 28, 2015 at 7:31 pm #

    This is the author’s best collection of short stories yet. They are thoughtful, humorous, and compassionate. Thoughtful about the mismanagement of universities by unqualified/inept administrators, career disappointments, and troubled relationships. Humorous about college pranks, misplaced hero worship, and class reunions. Compassionate in its descriptions of abuse victims, human frailty, and fond memories. Very eye opening while entertaining.

  7. Rick Purcell November 30, 2015 at 8:47 pm #

    What a great collection of stories. I’m only half way through and they are terrific. My favorites so far: “My Vietnam Story”, “Hilda”, “The Guest House”. Various aspects of the college experience come out in all of these. Some are funny, some are very serious. I never know what to expect and that makes reading them most enjoyable.

  8. Calixto Talamantes November 2, 2015 at 10:10 pm #

    This author has now written over 100 short stories. I have read them all!!! They are wonderful—many different situations are covered, it is easy to identify with the characters, and there is never a dull moment. Keep ’em coming!

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